The Slow Play Delemma

If you watched the LPGA Sybase Match Play Championship over the weekend, you were witness to the slow play “incident.” Morgan Pressel was 2 up in her match against Azahara Munoz when, after winning the 12 hole with a par which would have put her 3 up on the match, she was informed by the rules official that in fact, she was being assessed a slow play penalty for a “loss of hole.” Yikes! It seemed so sudden! Ahh…but there’s more to every story. They were warned of their slow play after nine holes and put on the clock at the 11th.  They should have picked up the pace at the turn. They might have avoided the dreaded clock. I can say from personal experience, having been put on the clock once myself during competition, that it is absolutely no fun to have the “RULES OFFICIAL” cart follow you around. And yes, the lettering on the cart is in all caps and it’s very large…it has to be something like a 500 point size at the very least. Let’s put it this way, you can’t miss it. So, if this were the case for them, along with a warning at the turn, a verbal “you’re on the clock” at the 11th, one would think it would instill a fire under their feet to move it along. Morgan just didn’t seem to be overly inspired to giddyup. So, the LPGA assessed the penalty and Munoz went on to win her first ever LPGA tour event. I will say, “hats off to the LPGA for sticking by the rules!”  They realize that slow play is an issue, as it is for the PGA tour, and they are going to do their best to speed things up. The impact of adding strokes to a player’s score  results in real money lost not won.  Interestingly enough, the PGA Tour hasn’t assessed a slow play penalty since 1995! They just fine players behind the scenes rather than publicly adding strokes to a player’s score. I imagine if they did,  it would have to impact their 5:45 – 6:00 hour rounds. Yes, that’s right folks, close to 6 hours to get around the course and that’s for 3 players per group!! If you watch from home, you have the luxury of the multi-camera  cutaways that take you from player to player and hole to hole. If you happen to be there, then be sure to bring some snacks because it will be a long day. As for the LPGA tour, they are leading the pack in “example setting” by assessing penalty strokes during play. Players will keep pace or they will have a larger number on their card at the end of the round. The PGA? Who knows there, only time will tell. And for the rest?  For those who play golf not to earn a living, but for the sheer enjoyment of the game, you should be considerate of others, do your best to keep the group in front of you in sight and see if you can finish a round somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 hours. If you can do that,  you’ll have the rest of the day to watch the LPGA tour!

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About Cathy

I am an LPGA Class A teaching professional with more than 20 years of experience. I've recently been selected as a Golf Channel Academy Coach. I have been listed as one of the best teachers in the country by Golf for Women Magazine, best teacher in state by Golf Digest and been nominated to the prestigious Top 100 Teacher list by Golf Digest. I offer whole game improvement plans and strategies that will help you achieve your goals. Whether you have a single digit handicap or you are just a beginner, I will help guide you to your success by creating a learning environment that is completely unique to you! I am one of only 30 people in the country certified by the Golf Coaches Association. I use V1, FlightScope and Boditrak technology.
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2 Responses to The Slow Play Delemma

  1. GalCallaway says:

    I completely agree and actually stopped watching golf (a few weeks ago) because of how slow Kevin Na was playing. As a huge golf fan, I hope the PGA starts to address the issue like the LPGA.
    As a golfer, I am frustrated by slow play; just this Sunday a group three holes ahead backed everyone up…the group ahead of us were told that the group in front was a threesome and took as many as 15 stokes — no ranger in site to address the issue. I wish courses would remind people (when paying) to keep pace with the group in front and to “pick up” if they are beginners. Thanks for a great post!!

  2. GalCallaway says:

    I completely agree and hope the PGA starts to do the same as the LPGA.

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